Anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders scored a major victory in Dutch elections. Displaying a stunning lurch to the far-right for a nation once famed as a beacon of tolerance.
The result will send shockwaves through Europe, where far-right ideology is on the rise, and puts Wilders in line to lead talks to form the next governing coalition and become the latest far-right leader in Europe.
Wilder’s party, the Party for Freedom(PVV), scored the biggest victory on the night, winning 23.6% of the vote, scoring 37 seats, making them the largest party in the House of Representatives.
The GreenLeft-Labour (GL/PvdA), a left-wing alliance party between the Greens and the Labour Party, saw the second biggest gain, winning 15.7% of the vote, scoring 25 seats.
The New Social Contract (NSC), a new centrist party, won 12.9%, gaining 20 seats.
Democrats 66 (D66), a centrist party, suffered the biggest loss of the night, getting only 6.3% of the vote, losing 15 seats, bringing their total down to 9 seats in the House.
People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the leading party since 2010, dropped from 1st to 3rd, getting only 15.2% of the vote, losing 10 seats, bringing them down to 24 seats.
To form a government in this instance, a government needs to gain a majority of seats in the House. The amount needed for a majority is 76 seats.
Since PVV won the most seats, they get the first opportunity to form a government coalition. To achieve the required 76 seats, PVV would need to work with VVD and NSC to form a government. NSC has voiced openness to a coalition with PVV, but VVD has said that a coalition will not happen, citing their anti-immigration, Euroscepticism and anti-Islamic policies. However, VVD leader Dilan Yeşilgöz has mentioned being open to tolerating a government led by PVV, creating a much weaker government. GL/PvdA’s leader Frans Timmermans said they will never form a coalition with PVV, citing the anti-immigration stances of PVV.
Big Tent Coalition
Another possible government coalition is one led by GL/PvdA, with the backing of VVD, NSC and D66. However, a problem with this coalition is the disagreement over taxes and migration policies, with the left needing movement from the centre to centre-right parties on the issues.
Centrist Minority Coalition
A minority government might form, a government with less than 76 seats, between VVD and NSC, with them working with the left and right on different policies to pass them. VVD has said this is not likely and is a last resort.
The latest election was sparked by the collapse of the VVD-led coalition government over immigration policies. If no coalition can be formed, a new set of elections will happen likely within the next year.